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Project Info ACTIVE Project Title

PoE Microgrids for Commercial Buildings Lab Evaluation

Project Number ET22SWE0053 Organization SWE (Statewide Electric ETP) End-use Whole Building Sector Residential Project Year(s) 2022 - 2025
The majority of building power distribution systems use alternating current (AC). This significantly influences the design of connected, building system components and appliances such as direct current (DC) appliances. With the proliferation of DC devices as standard design elements across many building technology categories, the interest in DC power distribution systems has also increased significantly. Power over Ethernet (PoE) leverages existing Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in the form of power switches, CAT cables and the IP protocol to facilitate communication and power distribution. Many control components across building systems, are being designed with PoE compatibility to save energy on the AC-to-DC conversion, facilitate networking, and reduce installation cost. The PoE DC Microgrid project will evaluate the electrical efficiency and cybersecurity implications of utilizing a centralized PoE switch as the power and communications hub for multiple building systems in whole-building or floor-level microgrid. The project will first assess the electrical efficiency of a cross section of PoE enabled building control components relative to their traditional AC powered counterparts. PoE-enabled building systems that will be evaluated include: VAVs, security/physical access control systems, thin clients and networking components, lighting, shading and displays. Next, two scaled whole-building or floor-level PoE Microgrids will be designed using commercially available PoE-enabled building systems. The first system will utilize a separate, appropriately sized PoE switch for each building system and the second system will utilize a single, larger PoE switch to aggregate all building systems together. The research team will evaluate the electrical efficiency of each system as compared to each other and a baseline AC system. Finally, the research team will evaluate the cybersecurity measures that each PoE system manufacturer recommends regarding the installation, commissioning and network configuration for both PoE microgrid topologies. The research team will generate cybersecurity best practices for commissioning multiple PoE based building systems with a centralized PoE switch.
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The ETCC is funded in part by ratepayer dollars and the California IOU Emerging Technologies Program, the IOU Codes & Standards Planning & Coordination Subprograms, and the Demand Response Emerging Technologies (DRET) Collaborative programs under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The municipal portion of this program is funded and administered by Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.